Skip to content
Harborough Museum

Kelmarsh historic photograph

Kelmarsh historic photograph

Kelmarsh is a small village in Northamptonshire, about nine miles west of Kettering. There are lovely stone cottages on the east side of the main road, where the original school was located and mostly red brick ones on the north side of the road to Harrington.

On the 4th May 1943 a tragedy struck the stone cottages.  As lunch was being prepared in one of the cottages, a spark somehow ignited the thatched roof of the middle house. A strong wind was blowing, and all the 13 cottages were destroyed, making 44 people homeless. Fortunately, no one was injured, but all their possessions were lost. The cottages were rebuilt in 1948.

In 1849 Lord Bateman, owner of the village and occupant of Kelmarsh Hall, gave all his tenants notices, (these would be withdrawn if they signed an agreement promising to behave themselves in the future), because they had lapsed into bad habits and were constantly causing trouble.

The villagers were summoned to the Hall where they were ordered to attend church regularly and live in peace with each other, conducting themselves honestly and soberly. If the villagers obeyed, a school would be built so that their children would learn to read, write and do sums.  A charge of 1d per child per week would be made.  To honour this agreement, he built a school in 1850.

The Kelmarsh Tunnels are disused railway tunnels in Northamptonshire. The Northampton to Market Harborough line opened in 1859 and had tunnels at Kelmarsh and nearby Oxendon.  The tunnels are 322 yards (294 m) long, and due to the smallness of the tunnel were known as “the rat-holes” by train drivers. The former “up” line tunnel at Kelmarsh is open as part of the Brampton Valley Way, which runs from the Boughton level crossing on the outskirts of Northampton to Little Bowden near Market Harborough, on the former railway track bed.

Opening hours





Contact us

Send a message

Tel: 0116 305 3627

Address: The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT (Car Park: LE16 7XA)

The Symington Building logo
Logos for the partners of Harborough Museum
Visit England Quality Assured Attraction logo

Copyright 2023 © Leicestershire County Council - Terms of use | Accessibility statement